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The student news website of Omaha Central High School

The Register

The student news website of Omaha Central High School

The Register

Black Student Leadership Council works to increase student engagement

Officers of Central’s Black Student Leadership Council hope to host more events and increase engagement after last year’s low membership. 

BSLC is “an organization that focuses on bringing young Black students and Black people together; that way, we can give back to the community,” said Harrison Jordan, a senior and Central’s BSLC vice president. The club also allows Black students and their communities to educate themselves about their history. 

 When Jordan was applying to attend Central, he was excited to see BSLC listed as a club offered at the school. When he got here, he was saddened to discover that Central’s chapter was not active due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was not until the 2022-2023 school year that BSLC was revived at Central. 

 BSLC’s current president, junior Uriya Mushwas, has fond memories associated with last year’s council. “It was just amazing … getting to connect with others as we share the same difficulties in life and how we can bring up ourselves,” Mushwas said. 

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 However, students faced many barriers when starting the council back up.  

 “Last year was kind of rocky for us, simply because we only had like six people in our chapter because it [had] literally just started. We tried to do things around the school, but [administrators] wouldn’t let us because they didn’t know who we were,” said junior Sanaii Houston-Wells, BSLC’s chairperson of events. 

 “Things just weren’t working out,” Jordan said. “We couldn’t really get a set place or a set spot and set time for our meetings, so most of the time it was online … it was just kind of challenging to get actual people to join.” 

 But the head of Omaha BSLC took notice of Mushwas, Jordan and Houston-Wells because of their commitment and passion for the council and suggested that they lead Central’s chapter this year. Jordan said they could not refuse. 

 The new officers have big plans for BSLC, but these plans first require higher engagement. The council has already seen a significant increase in membership, with approximately 20 people attending the first meeting and more showing up at each successive gathering. 

 “Right now, we’re kind of planning on doing drives, so that would be our way of giving back to the community,” Jordan said. Additionally, the council is planning to host events, such as an all-chapter meet and greet dinner on Nov. 15, where new, old and prospective members from across Omaha will have the opportunity to mingle over food and drinks.  

 “We do a lot of fun stuff,” Houston-Wells said. “A lot of people, when they hear about BSLC, are like, ‘Oh, it’s just another school thing.’ No! No, it’s not! We travel, we go places, we have dinners, we do programs and meet and greets and we have career opportunities, not just college opportunities.” 

 Houston-Wells and Mushwas both expressed their anticipation of BSLC’s Black History Month program. Houston-Wells described the program as a more well-rounded approach to Black history than is typical, which usually does not include the dancing, poetry and Black history facts that the program features. “It’s not just you sitting in a classroom and learning about it; it’s you engaging, listening to music and stuff like that,” Houston-Wells said.  

 BSLC also hosts a Black history tour over the summer that invites members to visit Black monuments, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and history museums, as well as savor food from Black-owned restaurants. This past summer, the council took students on a week-long trip to Tulsa, Okla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Houston, Texas; and New Orleans, La. 

 Other than the community outreach, learning and travel opportunities the council has given its members, Jordan’s favorite part of BSLC is the bonds he has formed because of it. 

 “It’s nice because you meet so many different other Black people that you can relate to,” Jordan said. “Honestly, sometimes you can’t even relate to them for real, but … you just put that behind you, and you’re just celebrating your Blackness together.” 

 “[BSLC] brings you out of your comfort zone because when I first joined, I was really shy and quiet … when I met these people, they were just so lively and vibrant. I became a part of that, and it changes you for the better,” Mushwas said.  

 Jordan’s experience with BSLC was similar to Mushwas’. He said he used to be quiet but has become more social since joining. Jordan hopes that members will gain leadership from being on the council and develop a sense of individualism while still being surrounded by a network of like-minded peers. 

 If Mushwas wants members to take one thing away from the Black Student Leadership Council, it is this: “Black is beautiful. Be proud to be Black, be unapologetically Black, be Black, period, in whatever you do. Thrive in it.” 

 Students interested in joining BSLC can attend the council’s meetings held every other Tuesday. 

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Hadley Forsen-Yepes, Chief Copy Editor
Hello, my name is Hadley (she/her), and I am a Senior at Central. This is my second year on staff and my first year as Chief Copy Editor. I was voted most likely to buy all the books in a series before reading the first one, which is painfully accurate, as I have done this time and time again (and will likely continue doing it until the day I die). My hobbies are reading, watching movies, playing piano and spending time with my friends and family. I’m looking forward to making the next six issues of The Register its best ones yet!
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